A lot of kids break their bones in childhood, but some have to deal with musculoskeletal issues their whole life. No parent wants to hear that their child has to battle a medical condition. Worse still is when that medical condition causes the child pain, disrupts their quality of life and generates feelings of exclusion on a daily basis.
Musculoskeletal diseases like osteoarthritis are something many parents aren’t prepared for because so often we think about them as conditions that occur in old age. While it’s rare for kids to have musculoskeletal diseases, thousands of children and adolescents are impacted by them every year.
If your son or daughter is one of those children, here’s what you can do to help them through the pain of a musculoskeletal disease or injury.
Create an All-Star Medical Team
One of the best things you can do for your child’s well-being is put together an all-star medical team with capable, caring specialists. There’s a good chance you’ll need to find an orthopedic knee doctor who specializes in pediatric surgery or a physical therapist who works exclusively with children. It may take some trial and error, but it’s time well spent.
Having a dedicated team of pediatric experts ensures that your child will receive quality care over the long-term, which can prevent future problems. The team will get to know your family and your child’s unique condition. Working with the same group of medical professionals also aids in communication and information sharing so that everyone is on the same page.
Don’t forget, you’re an integral part of the medical care team as well. You have to be diligent about getting to checkups as scheduled, administering medication at home properly and making sure your kid is following the doctor’s orders.
Lead by Example When It Comes to Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Many musculoskeletal conditions that affect adults actually begin in childhood. As time goes on, the condition worsens. Musculoskeletal conditions in children can also get worse if the condition is left untreated or certain lifestyle choices are made.
The healthier your child is overall, the easier it will be to manage musculoskeletal pain and other side effects. Healthy choices will help your child avoid obesity, which strains joints. They’ll also be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Children learn by example. They look to their parents for guidance on the right choices to make in terms of diet, exercise and extracurricular activities. If you’re not taking care of your own health, you can’t expect your child to do so either. Parents that smoke a pack a day then tell their kids not to smoke are sending mixed messages. In many cases, children choose to follow what they see others doing, not what they’re told to do.
Set a health goal for yourself and start working towards it. This will show your child the importance of making healthy choices at every stage in life and that positive changes are possible. It could be the inspiration kids need to begin creating healthy habits that will influence their health as adults.
Show Your Kid They’re a Superhero
When you have a chronic disease, it’s easy to let medical care control life. Kids with musculoskeletal diseases may begin to question their capabilities. As a result, your child’s confidence may waiver and they may sell themselves short.
It’s important to encourage your child to live life to the fullest, even when a medical condition limits physical activity. Point out that they’ve already overcome a lot more than most kids and have an understanding that not everything comes easy in life. Facing adversity helps us grow and appreciate what we have in life no matter what age we are.
Encourage your child to take on new challenges and to keep trying even when things seem impossible. Make it known their disease isn’t a setback. It’s something that can make them stronger and more driven to beat the odds. Keep a positive outlook yourself and that positivity will help your child get through the hard times.